Work will now begin on a brand-new Automation and Robotics Training Centre at West Nottinghamshire College, to serve students and employers in Mansfield and Ashfield, as a result £670,000 investment by D2N2.
The Local Growth Fund enables D2N2, the Local Enterprise Partnership for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, to invest in projects that benefit the local area and economy, supporting greater numbers of jobs, homes, and learners.
With a total project cost of £900,000, the new training centre will focus on automation and robotics to meet the demands of local businesses and support the education of up to 470 learners.
With funding now secured, work will begin to re-purpose part of the college’s Engineering Innovation Centre, on Oddicroft Lane, Sutton-in-Ashfield, to provide enhanced facilities for learners studying engineering, manufacturing, and distribution.
The funding will also allow the college to purchase new advanced equipment to support the teaching of new higher skills provision in the automation and robotics sectors to meet the growing demand from local businesses as a result of increased automation.
With work due to be completed by January 2021, the college plans to run short courses and exploratory sessions for local businesses early next year before launching its first full-time level 3 courses in automation and robotics from September 2021.
The scheme is just the latest investment D2N2 has made into West Nottinghamshire College campuses.
It follows a £580,000 contribution towards an Allied Healthcare Provision facility operated by Nottingham Trent University (NTU) from the college’s main Derby Road campus in Mansfield and £2.6 million allocated to the Vision University Centre, which opened in 2016 and is also now operated by NTU through a formal partnership with the college.
D2N2 Interim Chair David Williams said: “The world of work is changing, and the Coronavirus pandemic has only quickened that pace of change, but by financially backing projects such as the Automation and Robotics Training Centre we can ensure our businesses continue to have the highly skilled workforce equipped for the changing needs of industry to support their growth.
“With significant investment happening in our region, D2N2 is committed to improving life chances for our residents in the form of more jobs, more homes, and better educational opportunities.”
Andrew Cropley, Principal and Chief Executive of West Nottinghamshire College, said: “We are delighted to have the backing of D2N2 for this important project and are now working in partnership with employers large and small across our communities to ensure that we turn the potential threat of losing jobs to automation into a great opportunity for local people and businesses.
“Embracing new technologies is critical if we are to play our part in making Mansfield and Ashfield thriving, prosperous communities.”
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said: “This Government is investing over £600,000 into the development of the Automation and Robotics Training Centre, boosting education in the area and supporting local businesses to adapt and embrace the latest technology.
“This is just the latest example of how investments through our Local Growth Fund are supporting people across the country, delivering projects that benefit local economies and communities.”